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Want a Sunroof? The Pros and Cons of Having a Sunroof


A sunroof…to have or not to have is one of many questions when you purchase a car.

Simply put, it sounds great to have freedom and fresh air while driving with the roof open.
But is it actually that great?

What is a sunroof?

A sunroof is a window on a car roof.
There are a variety of styles of sunroof.

Types of sunroof

1.Tilt-up Sunroof

This type of sunroof has a roof window that is hinged in the front so that it opens and shuts in the rear. It only tilts, and the opening is small. If you want fresh air and to feel the sunshine, but not too much, this tilt-up type is the best option.

2.Sliding Sunroof

Outer Sliding sunroof

Inner Sliding sunroof

This is a roof window that slides back and forth to open and shut. The window is either on the roof or between the ceiling and the roof.
This is the most common type of sunroof.

Some makers call a glass sunroof a “Moon Roof”.

Moon Roof

3.Panorama Window

This is a large glass or synthetic resin window panel, which is embedded in the car roof.

It looks too bright, right? Not to worry. Under the window panel, there is a cover (shade) that slides back and forth to block out the sunshine. To enjoy the sunshine and panoramic view, just open the cover.

This panorama window is to enjoy the view and it is the only sunroof that does not open and shut. So, it does not provide any ventilation through the roof, however, this large window provides the best sense of openness.

What’s Good about Sunroofs?

In my opinion, having a sunroof is awesome because…


A sunroof will give you a sense of open-air and freedom. The openness of sunroofs cannot be compared with a car with a completely enclosed space (Of course, a convertible car which has no roof is the best in terms of openness…)

Driving on a sunny day in early summer is fabulous! Why don’t you enjoy the views that you won’t see from a car with no sunroof?

2.Less noise

Research shows that the noise from the sunroof is quieter than that from side windows. This means having fresh air in the car doesn’t have to disturb conversation.


Ventilating the car by opening the sunroof as well as the side windows is far more efficient than opening the side windows only.

4.Added value

A sunroof usually increases the car value when you trade the car.

Cons of Sunroof

On the other hand, you might have to consider the negative sides of sunroofs seen below.

1.Low Ceiling

A sunroof where the window panel is installed between the roof and ceiling (e.g. Inner sliding type) structurally lowers the ceiling. This means the space between your head and the ceiling is pushed down.

2.Effect of Outside Temperature

The material used for sunroofs is usually glass or clear synthetic resin and their performance insulating from the outside temperature is poorer than a normal car roof.

Even the sliding shade on/under the sunroof will let through the outside temperature and you may feel warmer in summer and colder in winter as compared to a normal car roof.

3.Low fuel efficiency

A sunroof itself weighs about 20-30kg. The heavier the body gets, the less efficient the fuel consumption of the vehicle.

4.Low structural strength

If a sheet of stone becomes chipped, it becomes weaker. The same situation can happen with sunroofs. A vehicle roof with a sunroof installed will be lower in strength especially when twisted.
The same situation can happen with sunroofs. It will be low in strength especially when twisted.

5.Risk of Leaky Roof

There is a possibility of rain leaking through the rubber sealant between the window panel and the roof when it deteriorates due to age.

6.Problematic if Faulty

It isn’t a part that often faults. It won’t be so serious as it’s closed. The problem is when it’s opened and does not work. If it rains, the inside gets wet. Also, the repair bill for the broken sunroof is usually expensive.

As such, you may need to consider both pros and cons of sunroofs. The best advice I can give you is to test-drive a car with a sunroof and follow your instinct as to whether you need one or not.

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